You’re pretty sure you know what’s best for your kids. You’re sure something they are considering is a bad idea. You’re sure they shouldn’t drop out of school. You’re sure they shouldn’t hang out with that kid. You’re sure they should take this job instead of that one. And usually you’re right. Usually, you know better.
But do you know best? Really? How can you be so sure?
You’ve likely heard the old Zen story about the man who found a horse. You’re so lucky, people said. “Let’s wait and see,” he replied. Then his son broke his leg riding the horse. You’re so unlucky, people said. “Let’s wait and see,” he replied. Then his son escaped the draft in a war because of the injury. And on and on and on the winds of luck change.
“Remember you always have the option of having no opinion,” Marcus Aurelius writes in Meditations. To wait and see is just another way of expressing that same idea. Everything is more complicated than we assume. There are elements of good and bad in all events. Sometimes one is more hidden than another; other times the consequences of one decision are more immediate than the consequences for the next one.
You won’t know. You can’t know. Especially when it comes to your kids. They’re so young. They have so much to learn–about themselves, about people, about the world. They don’t know what they want or what they like. Not really, not yet. So if they don’t know, how could you?
Slow down today. Hold back from having an opinion. Let things shake themselves out. What you will find will humble you. Because you don’t know as much as you think you do. Don’t believe us? Wait and see…